Temporal discounting: the battle between present and future self - Deepstash

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Temporal discounting

Temporal discounting

We tend to pay attention to the present at the expense of the future. Our present self will eat an extra piece of cake, or skip a training session, or procrastinate and leave our future self to deal with the consequences. This is known as temporal discounting.

While in-the-moment decisions don't feel like a big deal, they add up over time.

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Your future self in decision-making situations

We all like to feel good about ourselves in the moment, even if it interferes with our long-term goals.

But instead of letting our present self make the decision, we need to bring our future self into the decision-making process to help us think about the future consequences.

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Using the power of regret

Emotions can be used in two ways: To understand the way we feel, and to use it proactively to influence our future behaviour.

Regret happens after an event. We can't change the past, but we can harness regret to improve our future by visualising how our future self will feel about the decision we make now. If you think that your future self will feel fine about the decision, then it is a perfectly valid conclusion.

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The 10-10-10 method

We don't always have the mental energy to visualize the potential feelings of our future self. In these moments, we can use the 10-10-10 approach.
Ask yourself three questions to help you project yourself in the future:

  1. What are the consequences of this decision in 10 minutes?
  2. What are the consequences in 10 months?
  3. What are the consequences in 10 years?

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